Hunting in Virginia - Questions


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WardenWolf
October 4, 2012, 05:40 PM
Looks like I'm moving to Virginia from Arizona. I'm interested in what hunting is like there. I've heard from some people you have a deer problem. I've been reading over the hunting regulations, and have a couple of questions. I already know you can't hunt on Sunday.

1. I was unable to find any magazine size restrictions for hunting with rifles, despite looking in the right sections. Am I correct that Virginia has no magazine size limit?

2. What are good areas to hunt?

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Loyalist Dave
October 4, 2012, 06:24 PM
Well, although I hail from Maryland I hunt often for deer in VA.

First, YES in much of Virginia and Maryland we are up to our armpits in deer. In some parts of Maryland with a bow there is no limit on Does. I hunt with a muzzleloader, and don't have room for a dozen deer.....,

Now, in VA you sometimes can hunt on Sundays..., in game preserves.

As to magazine size limit, you must know the county in which you are hunting for Virginia allows each county to set many of the regulations per county, and so you must look up the county in the regulation book, then cross reference to the list of regulations..., for regulation #60 says..., The maximum number of rounds that may be loaded in a center-fire rifle shall not exceed five, including the round loaded in chamber. This does not apply to more than one county that I can find.

It gets very complicated..., Regulation #7 says, No rifles for deer hunting, #8 says, No rifles for big game hunting, #10 says, No hunting of big game with shotguns #41 prohibits hunting with muzzleloading rifles, #53 prohibits hunting deer with muzzleloading rifles, etc etc

The whole dang state is good for deer hunting, the only problem is whether or not they let you shoot something. Some of the regulations in the counties permit hunting inside city limits, some counties not, and in the ones that let you shoot inside a city limit you must be 10' in the air on a tree stand so that the shot goes into the ground, for example.

I just use a muzzleloader where it's legal to use it, and legal in all deer seasons, which is a single shot, so magazine limit is moot for me.

LD

WardenWolf
October 4, 2012, 07:31 PM
Thanks. What a mess of regulations. It's rather stupid. I primarily intend to hunt with my scoped Mauser in 8mm, but I might use my PSL or AK (with good soft point bullets) at some point. I have a 5-round mag for the AK, but not the PSL, and plugging it is a bit of a pain.

countertop
October 4, 2012, 08:55 PM
http://www.vasportsmen.com/forums/

Good place to start.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fishing (http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/) are helpful too. Here's a link to the regulations book (http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/regulations/).

To your questions:

Yes. A ton of deer. Big game tag is 6 deer (3 either sex, 3 antler less) 3 turkeys and 1 bear. Unlimited antler-less bonus tags (http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/regulations/deer.asp#bonus) ($18 per 6 deer).

Season varies depending on where you are. Near DC (ie: Northern Virginia) you can't use a center fire rifle in Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria or Prince William. Prince William will allow you to use a muzzleloader or shotgun though (I do a lot of hunting there). 40 minutes outside DC, Faquier or Loudon County, and you can.

There are fundamental differences in how government operates, and levels of local control, between Eastern States and western states. Much has to do with how they were founded. In Virginia, there are still weird land laws on the books that derive from how the original deeds were handed down from the king of England (you actually find that up and down the east coast). For instance, everywhere else the border between states is in the middle of the river. Along the Chesapeake and Potomac River, Maryland owns the river up to the Virginia shore (and there is ongoing dispute over whether its the high tide or low tide mark).

Season length varies considerably based on where you are in Virginia (so does the timing of the rut). In the 4 or 5 counties near DC, you can hunt deer basically 9/1 through 3/27. Every day. Bag limit in VA is 2 a day. But in those same populated NoVA counties it's unlimited. Want to kill 20 a day? Go for it.

Never heard of a magazine restriction. I've hunted with a WASR once, just to do it. It usually isn't a problem, my go to gun is a Rem 700 in .280 rem. it holds 5 rounds.

The individual local restrictions on guns (as opposed to season dates and harvest limits - which are set by the state) are here (http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/regulations/local-ordinances.pdf). Basically, in Virginia, the local form of government is a county (there are a few towns, but most are unincorporated areas within a county and are governed by a county). I'd chalk these local restructions up to two things. First, many of them are designed as safety measures. And are generally reasonable (and, Loyalist Dave, Maryland has some of the same funky restrictions. In some areas its even worse. In others, better). But there's a whole bunch that have originated out of a desire to enact some form of gun control, which the counties are generally prohibited from doing. So rather than banning guns, they put in place controls on the discharge of some.

Its really not that confusing, if you know where your hunting (and indeed, you need to know which county your in in order to check your game - no different than how you check game by management zone out west).

There is a numbered complete list of every kind of ever specific different county restriction in the state (there are 79 total), and then a chart of all the counties listing which applies where.

For instance: Fairfax 2, 25, 45

2. No rifles larger than .22 for hunting.
25. No hunting with firearms of game species from within 100 yds. of a road.
45. All rifles, pistols, or shotguns loaded with slugs are prohibited for any hunting.

That may seem restrictive until you realize that Fairfax is one of the more densly populated areas in the country. There are a few places that you could probably safely hunt with a rifle, but frankly most of Fairfax is urban or heavy suburban (town home developments, homes on 1/4 acre lots). Great urban archery hunting. And you can use buckshot. But nothing that's gonna travel 100 yards or more.

Loyalist Dave mentioned the magazine restriction. That only applies to Buckingham County. Its a very rural county. And there really shouldn't be an issue like this here. However, its just south of Charlottesville (aka, University of Virginia, aka lots of rich liberals). My guess is that this was an attempt to restrict the use of modern sporting rifles of the type that give liberals the heebee jeebees. Screw 'em.


Only down side in VA is the Sunday hunting ban (well, there if you are a waterfowl hunter and you live in Northern Virginia there is a real issue with that ownership of the Potomac thing. You need a non resident license to hunt the Potomac and Chesapeake for ducks. AND, if your on the non-tidal Potomac (area just above Great Falls, ie: 6 miles up river from DC) you can only hunt it if your hunting with a Maryland resident). Sunday hunting bans are generally in place in some form from NC up through New England. It's a relic of colonial times and the need to be in church on Sunday. VA and PA have the worst laws (basically complete bans - unless your chasing Fox's on horse or going to a couple of bird shooting preserves). MD allows Sunday hunting for deer on private land. So does North Carolina. We've been fighitng ofr it in Virginia, but the Republican party controls the state and they refuse to allow it (bet you didn't expect to see an issue where the Democrats where 1000 times better on hunting/shooting issues than Republicans). Its a real strange aliance between The Church (Pat Robertson, he's headquartered in Norfolk, VA), the Farm Bureau (https://vafarmbureau.org/Portals/Fed/documents/policy_action/sunday_hunting.pdf) (they consider Sunday a day of rest and their membership has adopted policy that states you should be in church on Sunday and not out hunting because god commands it and the animals need to celebrate the Sabbath too) and the Humane Society of the United States/PETA. Believe me, its bizarre to see Farm Bureau lobbyists and HSUS/PETA lobbyists working the same issues. And Republicans supporting them.

Also, we have some Elk (http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/regulations/elk.asp). The are in far SW corner and are treated as white tail for game tag purposes. Except you need to take them to physical check station, no phone or Internet check. And in 3 counties where they are being introduced you can't shoot them as of last year (most of the elk we have wandered over from TN and Kentucky).

We also have some limited numbers of Sika (http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/information/?s=050114) on the eastern shore. Maryland has more, and a growing population (and well established seasons (http://www.eregulations.com/maryland/hunting/sika-deer-seasons-and-bag-limits/)) but we do have some (though it doesn't look like they are open for hunting this year). They are small elk from Japan. Some guy brought them over 100 years ago, they escaped and now we have a full sized heard wandering in the swamps. Not much bigger than a dog. Small rack.

But super tasty.

Any specific questions, feel free to ask here or via PM or at vasportsmen (http://www.vasportsmen.com/forums/) (and mark me down as referrer please!). Also check out the reg book. It's pretty clear. And it's much easier and clearer here in the east than out west with lotteries and stuff and the need to buy a license (or enter a lottery ) 8 months in advance for the chance to shoot a single deer. We can guarantee you won't go hungry.

inclinebench
October 5, 2012, 09:56 AM
What part of VA will you be moving to? I have always understood that the restriction was on rounds in the rifle, not capability of the magazine. Different with shotguns and wing shooting, but I could be wrong.

Sunday is off limits for hunting...that is a shame, but otherwise, Virginia has some very good hunting opportunities. Unless you act like a jerk, hunting permission can be easy to come by, and the game officers, at least the ones I have met, are very professional, and treat you like a person, not a suspect.

One thing to look at is the divide of east and west, as many regulations and seasons change when west of the Blue Ridge. Also, many counties in eastern Virginia dont allow rifle for deer hunting. I have never hunted over that way, so my knowledge is limited, but friends from out that way come to my area for rifle hunting.

I hope you enjoy the Commonwealth, I rather like the place, and I always hope others find it to be as great as I find it to be. Outside of the no hunting on Sundays thing!

Loyalist Dave
October 5, 2012, 10:14 AM
there is a real issue with that ownership of the Potomac thing. You need a non resident license to hunt the Potomac and Chesapeake for ducks. AND, if you're on the non-tidal Potomac (area just above Great Falls, ie: 6 miles up river from DC) you can only hunt it if your hunting with a Maryland resident).

It's not an issue..., Charles I included the Chesapeak and the "Potamack" river in C Calvert Lord Baltimore's charter in 1632. It costs $91 for me to hunt deer in VA for three days..., $27.50 to hunt in Maryland all year round. I don't see a problem with it..., :D

LD

countertop
October 5, 2012, 11:52 AM
It's not an issue..., Charles I included the Chesapeak and the "Potamack" river in C Calvert Lord Baltimore's charter in 1632. It costs $91 for me to hunt deer in VA for three days..., $27.50 to hunt in Maryland all year round. I don't see a problem with it...,

Ha!

I agree, it's cheaper for me to hunt in Maryland as a non resident than it is for you to hunt in Virginia (and Maryland gives you more deer too). What really chaps my ass is this nonsense about having to hunt with a Maryland Resident p[resent. I understand the reason why its there (there were problems - involving gun fire, from what I understand - with guides from Virginia taking people out and setting up (and perhaps stealing) blind locations along the river from Maryland Guides (who on the Potomac, because of the C&O canal National Park only have a few limited entry points to put boats and guns into the river)). But it still pisses me off.

Always looking for Maryland residents to go hunting with though. :D


Maryland Non Resident Tags I Get
Full season non resident license: $130
Maryland Migratory Bird Stamp: $9
Muzzle loader Stamps: $25
Total Cost: $164

Equivalent Non Resident Costs in Virginia
Non resident hunting license: $111
Non Resident Bear Deer Turkey: $86
Non Resident Muzzle loader: $31
Virginia Migratory Bird Stamp: $10
Total Cost: $238

My wife claims this is because they don't want any of the no good dam Yankees from Maryland crossing the border and infecting the state. Seeing as I'm from New Jersey, I have less problems hunting in Maryland and I've pointed out to her I'm probably more of a Damn Yankee than most of the people in Maryland who hunt (as opposed to the liberal suburban Marylanders who are rather annoying, but no more than the liberal suburban Northern Virginians we live amongst).


Interestingly, just south of Virginia, in North Carolina they have various fees (http://www.ncwildlife.org/Licensing/HuntingFishingTrappingLicenses/NonresidentLicenses.aspx) depending on the state your from:

$100 GA
$125 SC
$ 90 TN
$110 VA
$60 Everyone Else
That, however, pretty much covers everything. If you hunt waterfowl, you need a migratory bird license. Which is $10. And if you hunt bear, the tag is free for residents and $125 for non residents.

627PCFan
October 5, 2012, 01:07 PM
As a previous Md'er now living in VA, I think the hunting is much better in Md from a Public access standpoint. That being said I only hunt in NOVA and VA near the WV border. There are a few public hunting lands in Northern VA, all of which IMO are way overhunted, bordering on dangerous when gun season starts. Otherwise your looking at joining local hunt clubs, or if you are REALLY really lucky, private land. The problem is most of NOVA is developed or open places remaining are horse farms not really hunter-friendly.

countertop
October 5, 2012, 04:35 PM
As a previous Md'er now living in VA, I think the hunting is much better in Md from a Public access standpoint. That being said I only hunt in NOVA and VA near the WV border. There are a few public hunting lands in Northern VA, all of which IMO are way overhunted, bordering on dangerous when gun season starts. Otherwise your looking at joining local hunt clubs, or if you are REALLY really lucky, private land. The problem is most of NOVA is developed or open places remaining are horse farms not really hunter-friendly.

Yep.

I've lucked out. I have managed to find some properties to hunt. One is 70 acres of woods, fields, and bottom lands along a water body in Prince William County. The other is 350 acres in Middleburg surrounded by a bunch of PETA pinkos running horse farms. Which means there is more deer for me!

Versus northern Virginia, Maryland has some great public hunting in McKee Bersher. And the duck hunting is unreal.

WardenWolf
October 5, 2012, 10:48 PM
I'll be moving into the Fairfax area, if that helps.

627PCFan
October 6, 2012, 12:53 AM
Might be late but ft belvior and quantico have quota hunts I think

WardenWolf
October 6, 2012, 03:54 PM
Good to know. Thanks. If there's anything else anyone wants to add, just post here or PM me. I've hunted javelina before in Arizona, but it's hot, the terrain is very unforgiving and rocky, and all plants have spines; even the bushes. It just wears you out quickly, and there's really no place you can stop and rest because of the heat bearing down on you. I'm looking forward to better weather and better terrain.

red rick
October 6, 2012, 04:14 PM
I would be looking to live in Caroline or Spotsylvania Co. It is more country and about a 45 min. drive to Fairfax.

There are to many laws as to if you can use a shotgun only or either in a area. You will have to know where you are hunting in our state before you get a good anwser.

You can not use a .22 cal. rife for deer ( .223 ).

www.HuntFishVA.com

We have a basspro, south of Fairfax in Asland and a better firearms store about 2 miles further south also in Asland.

Good luck.

WardenWolf
October 6, 2012, 06:16 PM
I don't have a choice of where I live. But I can drive. I know you can't use .223 for deer. Fortunately, I have 7.62x39, 7.62x54R, and 8mm Mauser to rely on. I primarily will use the latter, as I picked up an excellent sporterized K98 about a year ago that still shoots 1 MOA.

countertop
October 7, 2012, 12:07 AM
When do you arrive? Where in Fairfax?

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